To see what’s present but invisible – that is the hardest part of any branch of forensics. And mostly it applies to the very small. After all, ‘most anyone can spot a hunting knife or a rifle or a bloody rock. But fingerprints and fibers and microscopic bits of DNA? Not so obvious, are they? But it can happen with much larger items as well. For instance, what if you can’t see the body?
The sad truth is, in human courts, if there is no body, it’s damnably hard to convict anyone of a killing. The reason? Humans won’t accept testimony from ghosts or banshees.
Well, yes, as it turns out, a ghost might very well prevaricate about certain things – the same things as most of the living, in fact. But not about its own existence or its identity, if it remembers who it was. And banshees – all right, so some of them do get confused about time frames. They are, after all, best known for announcing a death ahead of time and scaring the hell out of people. And the banshees have suffered the same hard knocks as the rest of the Fae, so some of them are a bit…um, tetched is the old word for that. Unreliable. Crazed, even.
Okay, maybe it’s not that unreasonable, but the end result is, it’s damned hard to prove anybody is dead without some sort of corpus delicti. So if one has any magical talents, the easiest way to deal with a corpse is simply to render those inconvenient remains invisible.
It’s not as hard as you might think.
Your first care should be making sure that no one is going to trip over the newly deceased. A dead give-away, that is, and no – that was not a pun. Go to Waller for that sort of foolishness. Since one of the things the killer is trying to avoid is hard work, that rules out many of the things humans do with a corpse – burial, dismemberment and the like. Burning the body is also a bad choice, since fires of sufficient size tend to attract far too much attention. But placing a body in a tree, or on a roof, or a telephone pole is quite effective, once it’s been rendered invisible.
How, then, is the forensic tech or detective to locate the carcass? The same way one locates invisible creatures. What cannot be seen can still be heard, or smelt, or felt.
Another approach is to make use of natural elements. Summon a cloud of blue bottle or blow flies, and trust me, they’ll show you what you’re looking for by landing upon it, in their hundreds and thousands. They’re drawn to death anyway, and are likely to show up on their own, whereupon the buzzing will be your first clue to the body’s location.
If you have a sylph handy, you can ask for help in the form of an atmospheric effect – a cloud formation that shapes itself to that of the corpse.
If all else fails, you can try smudging likely locations with smoldering sage, and hope the smoke will find and enfold the form of what you seek. Once you’ve located the corpse, however, you will still need to pierce the glamour, or else undo that invisibility spell. If you’re pressed for time, by the circumstances, bad weather, whatever, then do what you can to visualize the carcass in situ, and record it on film. You might try using Luminol first.
Luminol won’t work on ichor nor sap from a wood nymph, of course, but it will work on most kinds of red blood because of the iron content. Oh hell – this damned machine is shooting sparks out the back. What did I do this time?